It seems like the YA novel adaptation craze isn’t going to end until there are no more young adults in the world. (There’s probably a book about it.) It’s mildly surprising that an official live-action version of James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series hasn't come into existence yet, but that will all change soon. Collective Digital Studio has acquired the online rights to the novels, and they plan on bringing the digital series to one of their many YouTube channels.
Collective Digital Studio is the “network” where you can find such hugely popular projects like Epic Meal Time, Improv Everywhere and Annoying Orange, which was later picked up and developed into a series by Cartoon Network. One quick search for “Maximum Ride” on YouTube reveals just how many fan videos have been made over the years, which strengthens CDS’ motives behind utilizing this medium to bring Patterson’s work to fans.
Starting with 2005’s The Angel Experiment and ending with 2012’s Nevermore: The Final Maximum Ride Adventure, the series centers on Maximum "Max" Ride, your average teenage girl who just so happens to be slightly avian in nature, which means she’s rocking a giant pair of wings. She and her fellow Flock members – Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Angel and the Gasman – escape from the lab where they were being kept and experimented on. Of course, their adventures aren’t solely for freedom, but for information about why they are like they are. And so on.
Here’s one of those fanmade videos that introduces us to the Flock.
The Maximum Ride series has sold over 30 million copies in total around the world, and even inspired a manga spinoff. The web series will be executive produced by Patterson, along with CDS’ Gary Binkow, Alex Cross producer Leopoldo Gout and Bill Robinson (Elephant). Screenwriting partners Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (Iron Man, Children of Men) and longtime Simpsons writer/producer Don Payne were attached at one point to script this adaptation, but it isn’t clear whether or not any of them are still with the project.
Patterson is ripe for mass amounts of big-and-small-screen adaptations. Though Alex Cross was a stinking pile of crap, his upcoming CBS series Zoo, the rare trip into sci-fi for the author, sounds like it'll be good. At one point, his Private series was being developed for TV, but that obviously hasn’t become anything just yet. It’s possible Maximum Ride might beat both of those projects to air, as YouTube doesn’t have to deal with the strict seasonal approach that TV networks follow.
According to Deadline, the series is now casting, and the producers are keeping their eyes open for other online stars to join the show. Who would you guys like to see don Max's wings?